The blockchain and the commons: dilemmas in the design of local platforms

Nazli Cila, Gabriele Ferri, Martijn de Waal, Inte Gloerich, Tara Karpinski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


This paper addresses the design dilemmas that arise when distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are to be applied in the governance of artificial material commons. DLTs, such as blockchain, are often presented as enabling technologies for self-governing communities, provided by their consensus mechanisms, transparent administration, and incentives for collaboration and cooperation. Yet, these affordances may also undermine public values such as privacy and displace human agency in governance procedures. In this paper, the conflicts regarding the governance of communities which collectively manage and produce a commons are discussed through the case of a fictional energy community. Three mechanisms are identified in this process: tracking use of and contributions to the commons; managing resources, and negotiating the underlying rule sets and user rights. Our effort is aimed at contributing to the HCI community by introducing a framework of three mechanisms and six design dilemmas that can aid in balancing conflicting values in the design of local platforms for commons-based resource management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '20
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISBN (Print)9781450367080
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Event2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - , United States
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020


Conference2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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